I have attended two Cleveland Browns home games this season, and at each of them, I saw something historic that I didn’t really care to see. The first was against the Tennessee Titans, when Joe Thomas’ 10-year streak of consecutive snaps ended. The second was yesterday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, when the Browns played a penalty-free football game.
Yes, you heard that right — zero penalties for zero yards. That means no false starts, holding calls, illegal contact, pass interference, roughing the passer, block in the back, etc. for an entire game. According to CBS, the Browns had not had a penalty-free game since November 18, 1962, when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals at home by a score of 38-14. Brown carried the ball 19 times for 79 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Per this database, Cleveland is also the only team to have had a penalty-free game in 2017. Last season in Week 17, the Buffalo Bills as a road team played a penalty-free game.
Part of the reason Cleveland went penalty-free might have been the frigid weather, as the officials didn’t seem to want to reach into their pockets to throw a flag. But part of it is a testament to the discipline the Browns had on the afternoon — although with five turnovers committed and it being in a losing effort, it kind of dampens any attempt to really celebrate the accomplishment.